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Our History

Called to preach where Christ was not known

The Lanna Theological Center traces its history back to 1960, when David and Deloris Filbeck moved to Thailand to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


The Early Years

David and Deloris Filbeck came to Thailand in 1960 to work with a minority hill tribe people never before reached with the Gospel.   The Lua people lived in the mountain jungles of northern Thailand along the border with Laos.  


David's journey to preach the Gospel to these people required many steps.   He had to learn Central Thai, then Northern Thai and finally the Lua language.   But this last language required more work as there was no written language.


The Filbecks spent 10 years living with the Lua, learning  their language, culture and sharing the Gospel Message.   David also began holding short-term leadership training programs. 


By 1974, The Communist had infiltrated into northern Thailand.   The Filbecks were seeking God's direction, when  David received an invitation to teach at Puget Sound College of the Bible in Seattle Washington. The Filbecks returned to the U.S.   During that time, David taught at several Christian Colleges and helped to start Pioneer Bible Translators.  It was a profitable time, but God was not finished with the Filbeck's calling to Thailand..... there was more to come....

The return to thailand

In 1982, God called David & Deloris back to Thailand.  They established a new 501 3c as an umbrella for the ministry named Christian Mission to the Orient   (Today, shorten to C.M.O.) This time they settled in Chiang Mai, the largest city of the north.   Their three older children decided to follow and spend some time in the land of their childhood.   That year was a special year for the family.  David A., Ken and Carmen all heard their own personal call into missions.  

Over the years, all four children have been involved in some aspect of the ministry.  


leadership training & bible translation

As soon as he arrived in 1982, David L. immediately began making trips to the province where the Lua lived. Over the next 15 years, he would complete the translation of the New Testament in the Mal dialect and establish 7 churches among the Lua.  


As the Lua began to respond to the Gospel, David realized that there was a need to train leaders for this young Church. So, a year after returning to Thailand, the Filbecks helped to start the Center for Biblical Studies (CBS).  


CBS served to teach and equip young tribal Christians from the various hill tribes of northern Thailand.  Many of them were from remote villages without secondary education.  So, in addition to studying the Bible, they attended night school to complete their high school diploma.  Over the years, CBS has trained dozens of young people who have returned to their villages and became strong Christian leaders.  


However,  in 2003, realizing that life was changing in Southeast Asia, the Filbecks made another crucial decision. 

merger & a new name: lanna theological center

In 2003, CBS merged with the Chiang Mai Bible Institute, founded by Laverne Morse, to form Lanna Theological Center.


Today, LTC is a 4 year Bible College that serves to prepare workers for all aspects of Kingdom work;  leaders for the Church and Community.   Today, there are LTC alumni working in church leadership, church planting, and various kinds of NGO organizations.

DOR Camp Group Picture 3.jpg


Today, The Filbecks are working to sustain LTC for future generations.  Dr. Ken Filbeck founded the Impact Asia Foundation for the purpose of establishing the LTC Endowment that would provide perpetual income for the school.  


I.A.F. partners with C.M.O. to promote, raise and distribute funds, and recruit long-term volunteers and short-term teams for Lanna.   

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